So often lost in the daily drums of life, but I’m learning to be more grateful. Occasionally I will sit for just 5-10 minutes and write a gratitude list. It can be eye-opening, and is so very simple. A great way to start, or end a day as it completely changes perspective.

Today, I am so grateful and humbled by the amazing family I have.

My husband and I celebrate 60 days into this deployment we’re in, and he remembered this and sent me the most gorgeous bouquet of gerbera daisies I have ever seen, with the most beautifully written card.IMG_7609[1]

In addition to that, and to add an extra layer of safety with type 1 diabetes while he is deployed, I went live with the new FDA approved Dexcom Share system, and my sister (in Iowa!), willingly signed on to receive my blood sugars live, from the cloud right on her iPhone.Settings

Are you Low

These are the things that matter <3

Home Cured and Smoked Pork Belly

Shortly before Seth deployed – we purchased our first (electric) smoker! We were somewhat excited and ambitious about it, so we immediately smoked a giant rack of ribs and a 7 lb pork butt. Needless to say, I ate pork for weeks after he deployed.

One of my biggest frustrations/annoyances/pet peeves, whatever you want to call it, is that it’s very hard to locally source quality bacon without additives/corn/sugar. It drives me nuts. So, I decided I would try my hand at home curing and smoking pork belly to make my bacon, where I control the ingredients. I’ve always tended to buy uncured bacon, and I’d like to eventually do uncured bacon at home, however, this being my first time and for food safety reasons, I bought curing salt. After all the reading and research I did – I think I’m fine with a 1/4 teaspoon of curing salt, because it kills salmonella and you rinse the pork belly well before smoking.

That said, I followed this recipe from SlimPalate for my first attempt. I love his story and really enjoy his blog. He does some amazing, beautiful things with food. I did add the optional coconut sugar, again, because most of it gets washed right off in the rinse. I let it cure for 7 days in the fridge, and then smoked it for about 2 hours at 200 degrees. My first few fried slices = heaven. I could not believe the differences! Not only, does it not sizzle/pop as much as store-bought bacon, the grease is so much cleaner (a different color even), and the flavor is just night and day! IMG_7260[1]IMG_7277[1]IMG_7289[1]

My second batch is now curing in the fridge, and I tried my own cure this time: Kosher salt, curing salt, black pepper, garlic, and coconut sugar.

Thursday Thoughts

We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers – but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change you’re the one who has got to change.

Katharine Hepburn

Crockpot Sweet and Spicy Shredded Chicken

Cooler temperatures (although short lived it would appear) always give me the urge to cook and roast more food, and lately I’ve been doing more with the crockpot (hi, easy!). This past weekend I had two packages of good quality chicken that needed to be used (boneless skinless tenders and breasts), so I decided to make something I could eat throughout this week.

In addition, I don’t typically use condiments anymore. Chemical shitstorms that I personally prefer not to eat, and when I left them behind I realized I didn’t really miss them all that much. I’ll consume some quality condiments free of refined sugar, corn, soy, canola, etc. occasionally, but really not that often. My deployed sailor left me with three opened 1/2 full bottles of (good quality) bbq sauce – one sweet, one spicy and one in the middle. I wanted them out of my fridge, so there we have it, crockpot sweet and spicy shredded chicken!

Crockpot Sweet and Spicy Shredded Chicken

  • 2 2-2/12 lb packages of chicken – really you could choose whichever you prefer
  • 3 large sliced jalapenos
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 8 garlic cloves diced
  • Random bbq sauces…probably totaling 1 cup worth
  • 1/4 cup grade B maple syrup
  • Fresh ground salt and pepper
  • TBSP garlic powder
  • Generous sprinkling of ground cinnamon

Throw everything in the crockpot and cook for 6-8 hours on medium heat, then shred with a fork. A couple notes: if you don’t like spice, use 2 jalapenos, this is spicy with 3. In my defense, I just made a recipe with 2, and there was next to no spice. LOL. I covered the top of the crockpot with a nice layer of ground cinnamon. I did not stir anything up, just left it as is and let it simmer.

I had it with over-medium eggs yesterday for breakfast, with avocado for lunch on Sunday and on a salad for lunch today.